Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas and Piccies

Here's hoping you've all had a fantastic Christmas. Ours has been lovely, despite E & C having chickenpox! But it's been just us - no visitors - and that has made it really quite a special Christmas in many ways. Lots of time to open the presents and play with them all - it really has been great :-)

I'm fiddling about on the 'puter today and thought I would eventually post up the pictures of some of our lapbooks. So here is the PLANTS one that we finished ages ago, but I never got around to photographing - click on it to see it all;

And here's a couple of Christmas in our house, just 'cause!


Princesss Jasmin on Christmas morning (she wore this to church :-) )



Snowflakes on the windows



Shepherd Boo in the church nativity

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Crafty Hours

As you know we are on go-slow, so today we did Bible study, a few maths challenge questions, a little bit of Grinch lapbooking for Joel (girls have finished their Merry Christmas one - will post pics when I've taken them), and this...

Lots of DecoGeomag-ing. I picked up an absolute steal at TKMax - the biggest set imaginable, worth £120 for £40. I could not resist it, even if it did come out of the Christmas budget and as all the oldest four had fun with it today I figure it was well worth it. In fact I added to our collection also, because in the works they also have panel sets for £2 atm. So now we have a vast collect of geomag (ordinary, pastels (well we will have these when the girls open them at Christmas), glow-in-the-dark and deco panels. I think I'll stop with it now - especially as I never envisaged I'd ever be able to have this collection with it being so pricey usually - thanks TK and The Works!! :-)

This is Abbie's butterfly;

From geomag creations

This is Phoebe's flower;

From geomag creations

This is Joel's star.

From geomag creations

Here too is a picture of Jake's completed bird.


From Bird art

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Supposedly taking it easy!

How can a take-it- easy schedule (or supposed lack of it) cause me to be more stressed out and tense than chivvying the kids along all day with ‘book-work’? How is it that my 8yo son says he would rather do boring exercises in a ‘sentences to paragraphs’ book than make a ‘You’re a mean one Mr Grinch’ lapbook. Sure he’s happy to read the book and watch the film - just don’t ask him to think about anything in any way, or ask him to put anything he learns down on paper in such a way as that he has to ‘think’ how to write it. The cutting out is OK for a bit, but don’t ask him to use a bit of glue - “I hate getting sticky!” How is that my 4 & 5yo girls can happily get-on with their “Merry Christmas” lapbook with minimal assistance whilst my 8yo seems incapable of putting any thoughts on paper without my constant assistance? And at the end of a day like today I turn around to find my home trashed by my 3yo because she has severally lacked in attention from me and really should have had a sleep this afternoon if I could have found a moment to settle her - let alone the baby (who fortunately did have a sleep this morning - phew - at least I don’t have to feel SO guilty)!

Now comes the next mammoth round of chivvying - the clearing up session, interspersed with swimming lesson runs and trying to cook tea (a bung in the oven as needs must tonight - Paul is too tired and I am too stressed to not burn anything more fancy)!

Jacob had his school Christmas play today (and tomorrow). Paul went this afternoon (a 20 mile round trip cycle ride) to watch and said Jake was very good. I get to watch tomorrow night - looking forward to that :-)

I though maybe - if we can get the lapbooks finished by early next week we might make lots of deccies and perhaps even put together a mini-nativity to perform to Jacob & Daddy this year. It would be good ‘speech’ practice. That said - they are all in the church nativity on Christmas Eve, but not all of them are speaking and those that are, are reading, not reciting in way.

I’m hoping one of these afternoons I might get to trip around blog land and visit some of you. I seem to have lost touch with you all a little just lately :-( and it’s mainly because I have been off the scene - and my rss feeds don’t work with Thunderbird (which is much preferable in all other ways to Outlook - which I hated). If I can figure out my feeds that will make life much easier - any hints anyone? Jax..?


Anyway - need to go cook tea - that’s my chill out time gone!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Number Bonds Lapbook (1-10)

If you want the file to make this let me know - I have it as a pdf :-)





Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Consolidation!

Just to let you all know that I have added a link in the sidebar to a place where you can see ALL the lapbooks we have made in one place (you can also CLICK HERE) - and from now on I shall try to remember to store future ones there too. We are going to lay 'normal' school down this week and do a Christmas Lapbook (or two) I think now, until we break-up. We have covered tonnes this term and I'm really pleased with how the kids have worked :)
Lapbooks we are about to do; "Merry Christmas" & "You're a Mean one Mr Grinch" (both from
www.liveandlearnpress.com)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Finally Blogging


Finally Blogging!

I am eventually emerging out of the yuckyness of early pregnancy, but not yet out of the ‘completely wiped for half the day’ phase. So school is still pretty much a mornings only affair atm until I get some stamina up!

We did eventually make it to Blue Planet after our disastrous day and we had a wonderful time. The kids were great and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. When I looked back over the day before I was actually quite astounded by how much protection I think God gave us that day. It could have been a whole load worse; We could have taken the right route to our destination and then either been stranded on the Motorway with a flat tyre and no emergency cover, in the cold and with 3 kids in the car, or worse had a serious accident on the motorway because of the flat. I believe the lengthy diversion afforded us time to avoid the motorway and be in a safe, warm place with the children, with access to a telephone directory! I also believe God sustained the tyre until we got there!!

The holiday makers had a fantasic time too and enjoyed a lovely afternoon at the Spinaker Tower in Portsmouth while they were away.

Anyway - that was weeks ago now! Life has trotted rapidly towards Christmas since then (deep breath in…). I have been busy re-working MPH 1A with Boo and she seems to be ‘getting it’ very slowly. We re-did the test on Thursday and she did manage to complete it all, but still only managed 60%. That said I recognise that that is a marked improvement from ‘blank’! I still feel though we need to stay put for now so I’ve bought an Usborne sticker maths book for her and also have another ‘ground work’ book that will be fun for her to work with for a bit. So we’ll do those until they’re done and then I think we will just move on. I won’t redo the test again. She seems to have the mechanics now, but still lacks some understanding, so it’s that I’m working on for a bit.

Reading-wise she shocked me last week by picking up a grade 3 Ladybird ‘easy reading’ book and attempting some of it. She then decided it was a bit tough and scaled herself down to a grade one book (the princess and the pea) and read it in two days. I have quite a collection of these from my childhood and she has decided they are what she wants to read now. I hadn’t even considered that she was ready to read them yet and was giving her much easier books, but she has proved me wrong! She is now reading Jack and the Beanstalk - which is a grade three book, and albeit slower she is doing fine with it! She really has shocked me and amazed me - just like my boys did :-) It definitely seems to be that golden ‘6’ in my family that is such a milestone and she’s not quite there yet!! I am also so pleased that she is already willing to make her own choice of reading book and to ‘have a go’.

Aside from the academics we have been doing some fun stuff too and I’ll blog some pictures of some of the children’s artwork in a mo. We are using ‘Artistic Pursuits’ atm and we are all finding it quite inspiring as you will see from the result :-)

For all of these the children drew the pictures, coloured them with soluble crayons/pencils and then watered them to get a painted effect.
This is Phoebe's painting - I was very impressed :-)

This is Abigail's. She had a VERY little help from me on this, but it is pretty much her work and gorgeous too I think. I'll post up what she copied another night.

And this is Joel's. Also pretty good :-) imho!


Jacob is doing one too, but it's only drawn so far. I'll blog that too when it's done.


There probably is masses more I could blog, but I have a mess to sort downstairs and late nights do not agree with me just now, so by the time I’ve blogged the piccies and sorted out I’ll need to hit the sack. I will try to keep up to speed a bit more now I’m feeling a little more human again!!

Oh - and Ellie turned three on Monday! We had a little party for her :-)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRINCESS!!



Sunday, November 12, 2006

All The Best Laid Plans...

…Certainly got laid to waste today! Paul and Joel, P & C headed off to Portsmouth for the weekend Yesterday afternoon, to take C to meet his Great Grandparents (we have not been down since just before he was born), leaving me home with Jake, A and E. Bliss!! People with 3 children don’t know their born (glinting smile)!! Match that with the fact that my Mum comes over on a weekend and today we could actually all FIT in her car - GREAT! Lets make the most of it and go somewhere for the afternoon together that we can’t usually go - Blue Planet should work for all of us :-). So we all took J to tennis this am, which finished at 12pm. Picked E up from her little friend’s (where she had been to play for a couple of hours) and on the way out of the said friend’s road awkwardly bumped over a speed hump (due to parked car on the left). Assumed no damage and continued on to Cheshire Oaks for lunch at the Golden Arch! On the way managed to take a wrong turn and a 8(ish) mile detour!! Starving by the time we were back in Chester, so decided to stop at the V. Little Chef we were passing and have a main meal instead (with a view to a snack tea then at Blue Planet later). Sat down - table in a draft so shuffled across to the window seat. Settled down with our menus - E was sick!! Cleaned her up - decided it was travel sickness, hunger, indigestion of one eaten-on-route banana and catarrh from her cold. Once eventually we were settled I happen to glance out of the window - only to notice that mum had a serious flat on her drivers side)! At this point I was very grateful for changing tables and for the fact that it was Mum’s side that was flat and therefore visible to me because otherwise things would have been a whole lot worse! We then spent the duration of our meal hunting through the Yellow Pages for a mechanic who would come out and change Mum’s wheel on a Saturday afternoon (she has no emergency cover…sigh!). Eventually we found some-one who said he could come in just under an hour (which he kept to thankfully). So, then I rang Blue Planet to find out last entry time which sadly was 4pm. By now it was 3.30 :-( The service in the LC was very slow, which any other time would have been very annoying, but as it was, at least the eating kept the kids occupied for most of their long boring afternoon!! So when all was said and done we headed home again :-(

How do you make up for such a disappointment? Well a silly game of Hullabaloo, another silly game of Cranium Hullabaloo, more silly fun on the Eye Toy (Play 3) and a video tea in front of a long film about pirates and adventures - Swiss Family Robinson!! And...the promise that we’ll go to the early (9.15) service in the morning and try again for Blue Planet straight afterwards. This is a major exception for us - certainly not something we would usually do on a Sunday, but I figure today was exceptional enough to make an exception!!

So on that promise I’m heading off to bed - it’s going to a struggle in the morning for me!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Not-so-Mini-Blog!

Still taking it pretty easy round here. Today contained a monumentous ONE hour of official ‘school’ I think! And Joel even kicked off about that - rrr! I think things have been too slack around here just lately, but tbh, I’m not that bothered as the kids are well up to par with their peers and ahead of most I guess. Abbie is reading with reasonable fluency these days and tackling some quite tough words at times. She has not been as quick to take off with it as I seem to remember the boys being, but then I also remember thinking that once they hit 6 they just flew there-after. She is not 6 until February and it’s good for me to recall that at her age Jake had only just completed his ‘learn to read’ scheme with ACE (having not started until he was 5 ½ ) - not that he wasn’t ready before that - I just wasn’t!!

On the maths front though she is really struggling. I’m going to paste in here a copy of the email I sent to the singaporemaths yahoo group the other night;

We have moved to MPH where there is a test book with each level. The child is recommended to take a 45 minute test at the end of each section to check for mastery. My 5yo daughter just reached the end of + & - within 10 (MPH 1A) last week and failed the test - simply didn't know what to do when it came to subtractions! :-( I will also say here, that I broke the test up into 15 minute sections and only required her to do 2 sections at a time. I wasn't sure she had the concepts down when we were working through the books and this confirmed my suspicion. SO, I've erased the majority of her practice book (part one) and we will repeat the book, but to give her a break from head-maths we are going to do some of part 2 first; patterns, shapes, ordinal numbers and some other concepts that I know she already understands, before we go back and repeat the tough stuff. Meanwhile I'll have her working on education city (www.educationcity.co.uk) and the Rainbow Rock CDRom to help her along and then I think we will work MPH hand-in-hand with Cuisenaire rods (we've covered these concepts in Miquon already and she 'gets' the rods). Hopefully second time round she'll be more retentive. Perhaps she was just not ready!Any tips on how to help her remember the number bonds (fact families - whatever you choose to call them), so that she doesn't have to work them out every time? I am not fond of 'drill' - I acknowledge that it can work, but I can only see it as boring for her AND ME!! I'm planning lots of dice games - any other ideas? She is very visual/tactile (both - really), but struggles to picture images in her head. So if I say "imagine...." she simply can't! But she can make a picture with objects to illustrate what I'm saying. However, mental maths is all about transferring the images from the real to the abstract (so for example, from _manipulating_ rods physically, to _imagining_ you are doing the same, to not needing rods at all eventually), but how do you actually get from a to b if your child struggles so to make mental pictures (after-all - when I do mental maths I still make mental pictures of the numbers I'm using!)?

The other problem I find she has is that when she needs to make two 'moves' she forgets the first almost instantly, or even simply forgets the answer she has found before she has recorded it. She then needs to repeat the whole process to find the answer again - even with simple additions of 5 + 3 say!! It's like her brain doesn't actually log the answer at all and if she does manage to record it quick enough it, is forgotten instantly and, should the same sum appear again in the exercise, she will repeat the whole calculation again because she has forgotten/fails to recognise that she has already done it once, let alone remember the answer! I have been at this point before with my other two older sons, but the mud did not seem quite so thick and they did not get really sunk until we were dealing with numbers to 20! In reality they did get the basic concepts first time round and are now both very proficient at maths, but dd is REALLY struggling! We have actually covered the basic concepts of addition & subtraction within 10 four times now already in various ways. We have used EarlyBird (last year), MEP (a free downloadable curriculum I found online) and the first part of Miquon - and now we have been through MPH 1A once already and are about to repeat - that will be 5th time over the same ideas and each time she SEEMS to grasp it and then, just as quick as a blink, it's all gone again!

So, there it is in a nutshell. I must admit - I’m a little stumped!

Joel on the other had is whizzing on and not blinking at MPH 3A :-) It really is a breath of fresh air to him.

All the English resources I bought from S&S seem to going down well too and today Joel did some vocabulary work. He loves using a dictionary so this was a really attractive exercise to him.

I’ve done no formal English with Boo today, but sat and read a whole Sheltie (by the Sea) book to her - I never read nine chapters of anything in one sitting - and she thoroughly loved it!! :-) I am slowly coming to the conclusion that I am going have to approach school a bit differently for her. She is OK with pen-work, but she is really a listener/doer and would probably thrive better on Sonlight style school…it’s me that would struggle with it! After I read to her, she then read to me and then went downstairs with a CD & Book and listened to more stories.

Whilst I was reading to Boo (and the other girls should they have chose to listen instead of playing dress-up), Joel was out with my friend S and her family at a homeschool get-together over in Newcastle. S’s son asked if Joel could go and I leapt at the chance to amuse him for the afternoon. He had a great time so it seems! His biggest report is that there was a ½ pipe which he was apparently very good on with his scooter!

One saving grace atm might be the amount of time I assign them to Edcity and other times that they take off to listen to a ‘Learn French’ CD in their room while they play!

Other things…. I found this great resource today and for the $10 (just over £5) it cost me I though it worth having; A Child’s Geography - downloaded it and am busy printing it off (I’m so glad I bought that heat binder in Tchibo!!). I think it might suit Boo very well and looks like a nice ‘must have’ to own!

Caleb is now officially a ‘big boy’ - in bed!! (albeit just a converted cot, but still..!) But couple that with the fact that since the clocks went back he has been getting up at 6am (6.30 at the latest) and we are NOT early risers! AND he is getting up in the night too (no idea why)…resulting in me being one over-tired grumpy mummy too much of the time, who can’t wait for lights-out most nights. If fact I often shut down before the kids are in bed and leave them to Paul (not sure if he is best chuffed though, as he is most often the one who gets up early with C.). If you’re thinking “if C is getting up why put him in a bed?” - well - he was getting up anyway - with a thud enough to disturb the other boys as he clambered out of his cot, and then going over and hitting Joel to get him awake. With the bed he just wanders into us and leaves the boys alone - so that is much better for them at least! Strangely he always goes down OK and seems to love his big-boy bed. He’s just not too good at staying in it for very long. Even in the day he has dropped his sleeps to just about an hour each, if I can actually get him to have two at all. Why can’t he stay a baby just a little longer - long enough for me to get through the worst of pregnancy - like another 3 or 4 weeks would be OK!

That’ll do - PC headache coming on and tea needs cooking!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Just to Say…

I’m still alive!! Been feeling pants and avoiding the PC as it exacerbates my inevitable pregnancy headaches that are so unrelenting! But all is well and after our half term break and a birthday (Joel is now 8) we are back to school on Monday - although we are on light duties atm (like Maths and English in the mornings, a long lunch-break and some kind of ‘fun’ activity after lunch) until I feel more up to the general chivvying that full-on school takes!
Be back to blog land more soon!

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Vote is On!!

So - what will it be then folks? I have no idea this time!!
boy - early
boy - on time
boy - late
girl - early
girl - on time
girl - late
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Give Up and Give In!!

I just thought I'd share these with you all too. These are Caleb (of course) as he was climbing out of his cot after being put down for a nap. He gave up (unusually as he is pretty expert at it) and gave it to his tiredness - bless him!!


 Posted by Picasa
To Blog, to Blog, Oh what to Blog?

The rest of 'yes' week went happily by with some constructive play and some general having fun. I needed to chill a little so I decided it was fine to let the children do the same the majority of the time! Plus it gave me chance to get a little housework done before my SiL and her family (hubby + 4 children, I-7, R-5, M-3 and J-16 months) descended for the weekend. It’s always lovely having them over. The kids are mostly great when they are all together. J was a handful though. He and Caleb are so close in age, but J decided it was fun to bash C over the head with two hands whenever he was within reach. Apparently it’s a bit of an issue (he bites too, but he didn’t do that thankfully) and my SiL is struggling a bit to know how to deal with it without making too big a deal, so that it has a negative reward effect (tough one). Fortunately Caleb is tough and he simply avoided J a fair amount!! I never know why I clean before visitors with reams of kids arrive though - it’s such a waste of time!! Over half term we have another old friend coming up from London (a family where Paul used to work with their eldest son). They have four children too. The eldest (Ge) is now 12 (and autistic - we have known them since he was 2 ½ - where does time go?), then the next three are L-10, Gr- 8 and R-6. So when we are together we have a lovely descent of ages; Ge12, L10, J9, Gr8, J7, R6, A5, P4, E2, C1 :-) They of course are a bit too big for top and tailing, so sleeping arrangements should be fun!

School wise - back to normal today was met by a 45 minute tantrum from Joel when he opened up his maths book to the last review of 2B and had a melt down when he saw the length of it. In reality, once he got over it and knuckled down he worked solidly for 45 minutes, got stuck a couple of times, got passed it, and only made 5 mistakes out of about 30 sums. He said it was hard, but it obviously was well within his capabilities and when we chatted at length about it in the cool of the evening, he could see it was silly fuss for nothing much. I just wish he would remember that the next time. That said we are switching to MPH now so this shouldn’t be an issue any longer as there are no ‘reviews’ and revisions as such - just more workbook practice as you go along, which for us will be the best thing I’m sure. It probably works out to equal amounts of work, but with the different layout it just doesn’t look so daunting when you open the page. Hopefully we will be ready to start after half term (which is only two weeks away). This week we’ll finish off the two ‘revisions’ in the workbook 2B and then I have some BBC skillwise sheets I’d like to work through with him to recap on different methods of mental calculations and particularly recover rounding to the nearest 10 and 100. I just think these ideas have struggled to take root with him.

Abbie is doing great with her maths too and loving MPH. Today we started counting on and she got it straight away. She is definitely catching on now. She was even practicing her maths walking home the other day - completely voluntarily - adding door numbers; “that’s number 22, 2+2 is 4” - etc… Just simple ones like that, but it’s a start :-)

Other stuff is going well too. We made some clay models today (looking at the properties of clay in science) and Boo made a lovely cat. When it is dry and painted I’ll post pics. Joel made a cool flat-man and Phoebe made a sweet flower with a fair amount of help from your truly! So that was fun.

History was Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - a great story and we had fun with that too.

We then rounded off the whole day by watching ‘Because of Winn Dixie’ on DVD - based a book by Kate DiCamilo that we read way back and I’ve never seen the video of it until now, although I knew it existed. It was really excellent and unusually true to the book. I spent a good portion of the film in tears (as I did when I read the book too) and the kids loved it. Jake said it was one of the best films he’s ever seen - and I guess he remembered the book best too as he was the oldest when we read it. I might just go back and read it again to them - or maybe Jake could read it himself now. It’s not a difficult read at all, but it is a great one!

And last news, but not at all least, is that I’m pregnant! Not planned, but happy and feeling blessed (I just wish I could have lost a bit more of that weight before I fell though - pregnancy was pretty uncomfortable last time and my right hip is already twinging and I’m only 9 weeks (I think!!)) !! We’re just wondering where exactly the baby is going to fit in the house? It’s doable- just, but it’ll be a squash - even more than it is now! Ah well - a few weeks to cross those bridges..!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

‘YES’ week begins…

Yesterday was the start of our activity ‘yes’ week. We started off with a couple of games; ‘My first Vocabulon’ and ‘Days of the Week’. Then in the afternoon we had a friend come round to play, so more ed’ stuff really happened, but that was OK. Today has been pretty full on and I’m tired out. I was supposed to get some free-time to get some housework done and this is the first breathing space I’ve had all day! The kids started out by choosing to get out all their old lapbooks and some file-folder games I made way back when Phoebe didn’t know her numbers or colours (that seems like history now) which meant that they were great for El’s, but she needed my hep with them, and they still had some play-value for the younger girls. Joel busied himself with the lapbooks and all in all they probably spent over 2 hours working with those. Then Joel started on the Hama and made a bus, and Phoebe followed and made her first un-guided heart design - it’s lovely too :) Elle and Caleb did a bit of Hama too, but Elle will never complete anything - she does a few beads and gives up. Abbie wasn’t interested in doing Hama, so she continued with the lapbooks playing with the Egyptian dress-up dolls.

After lunch Joel went on BrainPop (shame that cost’s so much. I can’t afford it as well as Ed City) and played on there for about ¾ of an hour I guess, whilst the girls knuckled down to painting in some pictures from a rather nice book I have. They are still at that now. Currently P. is doing a Christmas tree and A. a whole load of presents. I was thinking we could make a ‘big picture’ combining the two and display it in a few weeks time!!

Tomorrow we already have a list; Socially Speaking game, Playdoh, ‘ART’ (I might make that a little more ‘looking at’ art than doing it though - I’ll see), French, more Hama I expect. The park is on the list too, but that’s rather weather pending - it’s not been good for a few days now :( Autumn is in the air for sure!!

Jacob had a ‘challenge day’ at a different school today, so I’m looking forward to hearing all about that when he gets home. I hope he had a good time. It might have meant he missed his footy training today though, so he was a little annoyed about that!

Jacob has also been ‘spotted’ by his swimming club coach as having some talent! He wants to keep him for an hours training n Wednesday nights now. To begin with that can only be fortnightly because of our other time commitments, but come the summer (and his birthday) he can cycle himself home, so that won’t be a problem. He can go more often then too if he needs to :-) Tomorrow & next week he has a gala & time-trials, so I guess that will be a test for him that he hasn’t met before. I’m sure he’ll do fine though. He really is very sleek in the water and displaces hardly any water (except on his butterfly - which I can’t even do at all!). I raced him the other day, front-crawl up our local 30m brine pool. My hair fell down (lost my toggle) which slowed me, but only fractionally and I was still ‘going for it’ some - he beat me by a stroke!! When he did his 400m (16 lengths) he did it in about 10 minutes and that was about 6 months ago - he’s significantly faster now and swims over 30 lengths every week (in ½ hour), so I’ll be interested to see what he times in at tomorrow and next week when he is swimming flat-out.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Another OK Week

The reading mission presentation evening was nice. The kids were very chuffed to receive their certificates and ‘gold medals’ (Jake really believed the guy when he said they were real gold - how gullible can a nine year old be?!) I was expecting them to get a prize, because I thought some of you had said that your kids did, but no - no prize other than the fake medal! Just as well the kids thought that was what I meant by “a prize” really :)

Abbie completed a half terms worth of Yr1 MEP maths in the past three weeks and next week we’ll start on MPH 1A - I think she is more than ready now and will enjoy it more for having done some solid ground work in Miquon and MEP. The first bit should be breeze for her I think.

Joel wrote a nice little story with the help of some ideas for ‘Igniting your Writing’ - about an A5 side of paper. It was a bit of a push to get him to write that much, but after he got over the idea that it wasn’t optional he knuckled down and did quite nicely - and got a good sense of achievement at the end of it too :) For some reason he always seems to get half way through a story and give up (about half a side). I know it’s common at his age to jump to and ending, but all the same he needs to be encouraged not to and this time he made it. Hopefully next time it will be easier. I just need to make the next time not too far away to keep up the momentum.

One more week to go (which nicely gives me time to tie of ‘materials’ in science and Joel to finish PM2B - hopefully) before we take our first quarter-term break and have a “Yes” week. I’ve told the kids it’s not a free-for-all week, but one which I want them to fill with a variety of activities of their choosing and I will endeavour to say “yes” as much as I possibly can. Idleness is not an activity and will be rewarded with ‘tasks’ so they had better keep busy! Play is allowed a bit more than a usual school week, and even educational TV might be an option some mornings (but not all), but it is essentially not a free-play week, so much as a free-thinking week ;-) So I am expecting lots of Hama, painting, playdough, Lego, Knex, Geomags, trips to the park (weather permitting) - that kind of stuff..! Probably means lots of mess too, but hey - it’s meant to be a chill-‘n’-learn time, so I’m not going to worry too much. Hopefully I will have some more quality time to spend with the tinies too, whilst the biggies are occupied with their own activities. And I also hope it will set us all up for a fresher three weeks before half term. It’s amazing how quickly even Boo gets worn down. Three weeks in and she is flagging come the afternoons. I don’t how they keep going in school - or how I ever did for that matter. I do remember feeling very tired and flat some days and feigning illness so I could just sleep and/or get time-out from the busyness of the classroom in the sick-bay under stairs (that was in ‘junior’ school, when I was 7 or 8 - my Mum worked at the time and could not collect me).

Jake has been difficult the last few days - very explosive. Tonight’s funniest quote said in his fit of rage was; “You are the worst parents I have ever had in my whole life!!!” At which point of course P & I could not contain our laughter - bless him, he couldn’t see the funny side of it very well! Tonight it was all over misbehaviour at the table (slamming cutlery, complaining, rudeness, etc…) which led to him missing out on his cake, flying into a rage, begging to be allowed it & not winning, screaming shouting, stamping and so on and so on. He’s quite scary when he gets like that actually and I find myself having to comfort the littlest ones at times. Tonight it was Caleb stood looking stunned outside the door as it was slammed in front of him. Jake adores the babies and would never deliberately harm them I know, but I don’t want them to grow up afraid of him and he really does loose control of himself at times. :( When he eventually simmered right down he could see the irrational disproportionate nature of his behaviour, but he still thought we ought to have given him the cake despite his attitude - because he “hates 2 day old food and won’t want the cake tomorrow!” - somehow I think he just misses the point of consequences, but then he misses the point of reward too!!

Ah well - tomorrow’ s a new day..!

Here’s the pics from the Reading Mission Awards. Jake as ever had to be a showman , but sadly my camera batteries were too flat to be quick enough to get a pic’ each of the others, so they are just in the group one. P & Joel front centre kneeling, Jake centre back row, with certificate on his head and Boo just in front of him smiling beautifully :)




Monday, September 18, 2006

Progress, Pity and Ponderings…

Although seemed a little slow I put that down to perhaps the ‘Monday’ thing. But despite that all we managed to miss today was History and that partly because of minor change of plan. Boo was supposed to be going to R’s after school, but R’s mum decided to pick Boo up on the way to school instead of on the way back - to give R a surprise when she ran onto the playground :) That was fine by me and as History is a joint lesson it meant that Joel had to miss it too - not that he minded that too much of course! They both enjoy history, but the last lesson of the day is always the toughest to get through.

Both A & J spent some time on BBC Dance Mat Typing today. Boo just tickled the first exercise before R’s mum arrived, but I think she could get the hang of it quick enough - if she can just keep her thumb out of her mouth long enough to keep her fingers on the ‘home row’!
Joel is doing pretty well with it and has got to Level 2 - session 5. I need to encourage him to use his skills when he is using the keyboard on other occasions too, as at the moment he reverts to one finger and hunting for letters. I guess once he’s learnt the location of all the letters it will be a whole lot easier to use full-time. I wish I had gained this skill when I was his age - it’s been a lot harder to learn in my 30’s than I think it might have been when I was younger. I still make far too many errors and use the backspace much more than I would like to, but I’ve definitely improved recently!

Tomorrow is football trials at Jake’s school and I feel desperately sorry for Jacob. He SO wants to be in the team and I actually think he might stand a chance (especially as he is left footed and therefore a rare asset), but without a car to ferry him home from school outside of regular pick-up hours he simply can’t. I’m hoping that maybe his teacher (who happens to be the footy coach too) might have a little sympathy on him and allow him to try out later in the year when hopefully Paul will be driving and we will be running a car. I’ve written him a note to that end. It’s tough on the poor little lad. He’s quite good at footy, but he’s never played in a team and therefore lacks ‘team skills’ and is sometimes unwelcome on the footy pitch at breaks. He could do with playing in the team to make him more acceptable (‘upping his cred’) with the other lads.

What else...?

Tomorrow is the Reading Mission presentation evening at the library. I think everyone is looking forward to that :) That coupled with us hosting our first house-group at 8pm. The group we were attending has over-grown the house it was in and had to ‘multiply’ three ways - one group now to be held here. I guess that now means my house has to be respectably clean two days a week! I am seriously considering a cleaner again, even if just for an hour a week (I don’t think we can afford more than that) as whilst I can keep on top of the house in holiday time, in term-time it is just a little too much to have to teach three primary age children, mother two pre-schoolers and keep house all at the same time. It means I end up spending most of Saturday tidying and cleaning, as well as trying to plan the next week of school and make sure the kids are all ready for their various activities, get Paul a shopping list ready and spend some ‘fun’ time with my family. Saturday is really the only day-off Paul gets and in reality it rarely seems like one. It is most often filled with activity runs, shopping and “Dad’ll fix it” jobs, gardening and such like! At least if we had an efficient trained cleaner she could whizz round twice as fast as I do and get the place looking ship-shape without the interference of smalls at her feet all the time trying to help! If she came on a playgroup morning when there is only C. asleep upstairs and us working downstairs in one room she could have the rest of the house to herself. I think she could probably safely leave the boys room and the dining room to me and I could manage to keep on top of those ( I seem to be able to atm and now that the boys can actually dust and hoover quite respectably when they team-up their room looks quite good occasionally!)

Other bits of news…

Caleb can now climb out of his cot!! I forgot to blog it on the day, but the other day he woke up from his morning rest and before I got upstairs to fetch him was at the bottom of the stairs - calling out to see where I was. I thought he was at the top and guessed he was out of his cot, but jumped when I bumped into him at the bottom! I think that was the first time he has safely descended the stairs alone too - and he did it forwards, much to my horror!! Since then he has discovered he can also ascend the metal rungs of Jacob’s bunk-bed and joins Jake most mornings in his bed! 14 months old and already I think I’m going to have to put him in a bed, as he is simply dangerous climbing out of his cot. He dangled himself on the bars for a while, then climbs onto the changing table (which goes across the cot) and lowers himself down. I could remove the changer, but I think he would simply find a more hazardous route down, so I may as well admit defeat and set him free! Hopefully he will go to bed nicely though as he seems to still not try to get out when he knows it’s sleep times - day or night :-). It’s just the morning I anticipate a bit of disruption to and I am not a morning person - ho-humm!

Phoebe has started attempting to write her own name today :-). It looks a bit like this; Pб∂bp - interpreted that's Poebep - but it’s a good start I think. She was SO proud of herself and I was really proud of her too for having a go - something she is really not that willing to do very often. She is obviously beginning to feel more ready to try stuff. When I picked her up from playgroup today she looked such the big girl - all dressed in denim jeans and jacket, hair tied back and gingham headband, skipping along quietly and running a little with Joel, hunting for feathers and saying very little. Whereas El’s on the other hand looked like the wild flower she truly is (and even Nicki thinks she is bit different to how A & P have been!) - hair madly flying everywhere (she refuses to let me do anything with it except put a brush through), leaping and bounding and chattering loudly about her morning, bright pink doodles (I hate those shoes - she loves them!), leggings and a fleece. They are so chalk and cheese.

I love the way I can have so many different ‘flavours’ of child all in my very own family:
I have Jake; explosive, impulsive, rigid, black & white, hyperactive, sporty, highly intelligent, loud, funny, sensitive, considerate of others when they are finding things tough, beautiful - oldest son, biggest brother!

Joel; bossy, stroppy, grumpy, fiddly, fidgety, witty, imaginative, kind, generous, bright, ‘prince charming’ - playmate brother.

Abigail; little madam, wilful, stroppy, dreamy, zany, witty, image-conscious, tall beautiful ‘blonde’, creative, bright, biggest sister.

Phoebe; wilful, determined, whiney, quiet, internalising, fragile yet resilient, ‘princess’, floaty skirts and jewellery, also imaginative & beautiful - blonder and yet not so!

Elisheva; my ‘wild flower’ - mischief maker, manipulative, inquisitive & curious, questioning (endlessly!!), fiddler, avoider, chatterbox, loud, funny, show-off, wilful, beautiful albino!

Caleb; scary little monkey! climber, screamer, demander, funny, clever, ‘part of the gang’ - handsome, winsome little lad!

So that’s my team. I wonder what I’ll say about them all five years down line? Will the picture have changed any I wonder..?

Got to go now and do some science planning. It’s all a bit too mudding atm and I waste too much time deciding what to do each day.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

LONG UPDATE & MEME!

OK - At long last I’m blogging! Just getting to my blog atm is pretty tough. Schooling three at three different levels is working out tough - although it is going well I think :)
The resources that I’m using this year seems to be just right, if perhaps a little to ‘plentiful’. The ‘Springboard’ introductory book’ (which is Joel’s basic English course) is such a cinch that Joel tries to make it more difficult by reading into the questions more than is there! He should zip through that pretty quick and get onto the stuff that is more appropriate for his level. Education City is proving a big hit with everyone and they are all spending quite considerable amounts of time on there. It’s great that I can pick out the activities that fit best with what we are learning at the time. So in science we have been looking at different ‘materials’ and backing up our paper/experimental work with Ed City stuff. :) I picked up some excellent resources in WHSmith for science too (after I had of course ordered Science resources from Peter - forgetting that I had) ; “No Fuss - Science Photocopiables” (£12 only). I got both KS1 and KS2 books - I thought I could not go far wrong at that price seeing as they are completely non-consumable and 100% legally photocopiable :) I also got a S&S KS2 Science Revision book which actually works really well as a textbook and all the children can understand the topics OK (despite it being aimed at 7 -11 yr olds!!). I’ve then been using the S&S ‘Starting Science’ workbook on materials for A and the Photocopy stuff fro A,P & J.

We’ve been using MEP Year one for A so far as my Sing MPH books didn’t arrive until today. She’s almost done a half terms work in 1 ½ weeks!! Admittedly I haven’t been doing the 45 minute lessons with her, but that’s because I felt she probably already had most of the concepts it introduces down pat already - having done EB last year - and apart from learning the meanings of the <, > and other related signs, there has been nothing new so far. Joel has been finishing of 2B of PM from last year - covered time and capacity in less than two weeks, so should be done with that pretty soon too - especially as he now spurred on by the arrival of the ‘NEW’ maths books. Having looked at the MPH now I can see that it is a much slower programme and probably much better suited to Joel speed of learning. That coupled with the lack of ‘practices’ and ‘revisions’ he is likely to be a much happier bunny altogether I think :) Looking at Boo’s I think she will race through some of the initial stuff and that will give her a real sense of achievement. She has really got to grips with some maths concepts over the summer just simply by asking her to work things out occasionally. I think we will carry on using MEP on occasions though - perhaps to ‘pad out’ the year and Miquon to cement the learning where I feel we need to, but I don’t want to overdose them on maths!!

Abbie loves Jolly Grammar as I knew she would. The S&S ‘Basic Skills’ is good too, but it is a bit demanding in terms of the amount of writing it requires. That says she doesn’t complain nearly as much as the boys would have at her age (or even now for that matter) and her writing is coming along nicely. Her spelling is beginning to be a little more sensible too now :) The Early Comprehension I go her she likes too - it’s really very easy - story sequencing and stuff like that. So she is happy all in all. She has also almost completed the Year 1 ‘STILE’ materials and then she’ll be into Year2.

Phoebe on the other hand, having been raring to go last year when she didn’t have too, doesn’t seem to want to lift a finger this year and is reluctant to do anything!! I have a stack of workbooks for her to get through and I can’t get her to the table! She loves Ed City though so that is a plus. I don’t to push her too hard either as she is so much more fragile than the others have been - it’s very obvious how easy I could go wrong with her. I know I can be a bit of a hard task master at times and she simply won’t have the strength to keep up with me, so I really need to watch myself. But to be fair to her, she is at playgroup 2 mornings still and going to H’s another morning, I really only have her two full days - and one of those is a non-school day. In the afternoons she is quite tired and I think that’s why she lacks enthusiasm. I’ve tried to keep to the fun stuff in the afternoons for that reason, but I can’t force her to take part really as, tbh, I still think a lot of it is a bit over her head - despite me trying to make it multi level. How, in reality, do you target an 8yo, 5yo and 4yo all in the same breath?! I’m sure she gets a bit lost at times and I’m not helped by the fact that she refuses to give me any feedback, so it’s hard to know what’s really gone in. She goes mute on me ‘in class’ time. Anyhow, I figure it’s a bit like when she was learning to talk - or rather not - she stored it all up until she felt she was really ready to let it come out and only then she started talking. One thing that has been a hit though is the little ‘start Write’ box I bought - both girls love it and I can see that it might be exactly the starter P needs as far as getting her to ‘have a go’ without the help of dots to follow. I am thinking that maybe I need to give a little of Friday afternoons over to Phoebe getting some one-on-one time, and maybe even more so after Christmas when she will be left playgroup and at home full-time. I have pretty much decided I am not going to start teaching her to read until next September and to just carry on with nursery level stuff for this year. I believe she is simply not ready to learn it all yet and I think that gently introducing her to letters, without requiring her to really learn what they sound like, is the way to go with her. She might surprise me and learn some of the sounds anyway. If she does it’ll be a bonus, but I want her to feel like she is just having fun! And I want her to get a more ‘broad’ spectrum of learning that just learning to read. There seems to be a whole host of things she has simply not ‘picked up’ - like the names of kitchen appliances for instance and what things are made of - hence the ‘materials’ topic atm. She didn’t know what a kettle was, bless her! I don’t know if I really have never told her, or if she simply hasn’t picked up these very basic things.

SO that’s us for now… gonna do the meme thing and leave it at that. I have a thumping head, this has taken me a couple of hours and tea is nearly ready. Plus I need to go chivvy the kids into clearing up a bit.

But first to respond to Kerry’s Tag - who obviously doesn’t realise that I REALLY don’t read very much at all!! One book a year maybe..!
Anyway… I’ll have a go…

One Book that Changed My Life - obviously for me - The Bible
Two Books I’d want on a dessert island - Mr God this is Anna (Fynn) & The L-Shaped Room (Lynne Reid Banks) - the only two books I’ve ever really loved and read more than once!
One book that made me laugh - hmmm - can’t think of one. I don’t really read funny books. I like to weep when I read!
One book that made me Cry - most of the books I choose to read make me cry! The two above not being exceptions of course!!
One book you wish had been written - I probably wouldn’t have read it if it were!!
One book you wish had never been written - don’t know enough about literature to really know - but “Our Mutual Friend” (Dickens) is pretty aweful and made my A level English literature pretty hellish (yes - I did do that despite not enjoying reading - don’t ask me why!)!
One book I am currently reading; I always have more than one on the go and take forever to read them! So currently “The explosive Child” ( Dr. Ross Greene), ‘Rachel’s Tears’ (about the Columbine shootings) and ‘We’re in this Together’ (Celia Bowring - about being a minister’s wife).
One book I have been meaning to read; the sequel’s to ‘Mister God this is Anna’ (Anna’s Book & Anna & the Black Knight). I’ve have a compilation book, so that counts as one! But it’s been on my shelf for two years now!
5 people to tag - err dunno - if you’ve not done it then go ahead, consider yourself tagged!




You Are 40% Control Freak

You have achieved the perfect balance of control and letting go.
You tend to roll with whatever life brings, but you never get complacent.
oh so true - I like to think! :)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Too Late...
It's 1.45am. I'm too tired to blog properly, but suffice to say; so far so good :) It seems my materials for this year are going down well atm. I'll probably not get to blog tomorrow as I'm 'quiz mistress' for our inter-church quiz night -should be a laugh!! I'll likely blog Saturday -when I'm supposed to be doing the newsheet!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Funsters Is Fun!
Even if there is the odd grumpy moment ...


...it's hard to resist the thrill of the climb!

Going UP ...

...and through...

...and just remind me, how was I supposed to get down?
The slide might work!

We never made it to the beach, but this a close second best.

'Chillin' in the Pool!!




The Challenge here is to 'spot' four children!

Ah... there they are!!

Again another lovely day was had by us all. I've decided that Funsters is £25 well spent for a couple of hours vitually kid-free (and that includes the £8 bus fare). After this we went home. I went on to do some shopping for bits in Nantwich and P brought the kids on home to do some 'chillin' at home - namely lots of reading. Jacob managed to finish one book (he's read a whole 'Horrid Henry' book in two days :) ) and started on another tonight. He needs to finish it pronto! Phoebe is in the middle of quite a long chapter book, so I'm having to read to her lots to leg-it through the book with a view to reading just one more shorter one to complete her reading mission (I've done it as a read-aloud mission for her).

I managed to get my self my much sought after replacement white gypsy skirt for just £6.20 - and a top to go with it of course, which cost just a little more than the skirt, and came away with a new outfit for £14.20 :-) Maybe now I can bring myself to say "Goodbye" to my old faithful white gypsy skirt, which is really now a cinders rag, with holes and tears galore and totally unwearable - but I've worn it since I was 15!! I also managed to get some Jeans for Jake for £1.60 a pair! All from Ethel Austin - just in case you were wondering. I got Boo a pair of Barbie skates in a Charity shop for £2.50 and a cap for Joel for £1 (he never had a new one this year). Then I popped into the works to pick up some sketch paper and came out with three new books for the girls, another "I can Draw really Cool Stuff" book for cousin Sam for Christmas (missed his birthday)and a model car kit for Joel. I also grabbed some stationary bits in WHSmiths and a skirt for my Nan that she admired the other week when she was here.

When I got home the kids were engrossed in Princess Diaries II and P went out to town to get something for tommorrow (our wedding anivesary - 11 years!) and came home with fish and chips. I haven't cooked for a whole week - that's what we do 'on holiday' - we never cook!

So all in all a very productive and happy day :)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Techniquest!

So off we went to techniquest today. If you want a sneek peek watch the loop below. You get to see all the pics if you click HERE, or if you just want the highlights, click the link :) The pictures say it all really. Brilliant place! Even the little one has a lovely time - highly recommended. There is even a 'Starlab'; an air-flow dome with a 'solar system' film and night sky display. We all really enjoyed that. We came home with gooey putty, a solar-system kit, twisty mobile, bath confetti and other such goodies from the gift shop. Jake is into the buying pens phase I noticed!




For a little slideshow click
HERE :

If you're wondering about Joel's shiner - Jacob's bottom landed on his head when they were on the trampoline at D's the other night (housegroup BBQ) - on which, I might add, I managed to still do a somersault! Although I didn't quite land on my feet. I couldn't get the height like I used to in my teens :( I love it though - so addictive!

The kids are all getting a bit past it now, so we think we will abandon the Liverpool plans for tommorrow ( :( ) and save that for a 'parental leave' day. I know the boys will be disappointed, but I don't think the little ones will last another full-on full day of activities. So, the plan is to give them a choice; we either split up and I take the bigguns swimming whilst P. takes the teenies for another morning at Funsters (Phoebe is asking to go again and C. enjoyed it so much), or we all go back to Funsters for another longer session. Either choice is OK and would mean a quieter afternoon at home putting together 'stuff' that also needs to get done - like assembling the never-ending plants project (which is going in a scrapbook I've decided, as there is too much of it for a lapbook) and the new solar-system kit maybe - plus there is always Hama to be done! It also means the babies could have a much needed afternoon rest :-) That might count for Daddy too, as even he seems to getting a bit past it! Mind you, when he is about the kids do go a bit overboard on the "I want Daddy to do it" stakes - especially E, which means he is pretty non-stop with them - poor man. The older ones seem to gravitate more towards me for some reason (maybe because the little ones are hanging on to Paul!), which is OK by me, I quite enjoy their company these days. :-)



All Happening here...

...and there! We’ve had a fantastic couple of days. No pics ‘cause I keep forgetting to take my camera - must remember it tomorrow!
Yesterday was predominantly errands, but the girls left town with a ring each (silver and gemstone @ £3 a piece) for the older two and a pretty wooden necklace for Belle. Plus P. got her winter boots. I decided against trainers for her as she is such a jeans and floaty skirts girl (I know that is extremes, but that’s her), so boots should fare her well - and she is almost big enough footed to wear a pair of hand-me-downs that are waiting in the garage for her. The boys left with a new piece of Hot-Wheels kit : a ramp that hooks over the door to make a steep drop - battery free and great fun :) and Joel also got his ‘tennis shoes’ he was after like his brother. Only it turns out he needs to boost them a little with insoles as they are a teeny bit on the big side. Also went to the library and did the usual book exchange. Boo has finished her reading mission and Joel has almost - just a couple of chapters of this last book to go. I need to read lots to Phoebe in the next few days and Jake has to plough through two more books, so he picked cartoony type ones to make it easy on himself - although as of today I’m not even sure he’s started one! They also took out 3 videos and 2 talking books (Holes and the Lion Boy) which Jake wanted and I figure that if he’s not going to read good literature of his own free will, he might be more enthused if he listens to more, so I’m happy with that idea :)

Today was a busy, busy day - and broke the bank a bit too! Firstly to ‘Funsters’ this morning, which was great fun. The older kids always have a ball there. Caleb really got into it after about 40 minutes or so and was climbing up and down the mini-frame in the toddler bit. Els was more hesitant. She is not fantastic with heights - not fearful as such, just very cautious and likes to hold on to something, but she is also seemingly quite uncomfortable in confined spaces and this was a bit of a hindrance to her climbing through some of the gaps, but she had fun all the same and grew in confidence when she saw that Caleb could do stuff!

Then on to Pizza Hut for lunch, which was is a rare treat that is always a hit - especially the ice-cream factory afters! Joel was in heaven, with all the cherry tomatoes he could eat and cheese & tomato pizza in unlimited supply :) Jake likewise - Pizza and salad being his favourite foods, whilst Caleb & Ellie tucked into the garlic bread and ice-cream too! Not the healthiest of diets today, but for holidays who cares ;-)

After that on to bowling. I won the first game - yup - managed to get two strikes and a spare consecutively, which bumped my score up some and I only beat P. by one point, but bearing in mind his last points were scored by Ellie and Caleb I guess it’s fair to say he won really! We ended up playing two games, although I think by half way through the second game we had all had enough - except for perhaps Jake, who was loving it! Caleb had a ball (excuse the pun!) and was in his element. You should have seen him trying to push the ball down the runner and watching it go down the lane - and then clapping himself - SO cute! Really wished I’d had a camera with me at that point :( Towards the end he lost the plot though as he was over tired, having only napped for about 20 minutes when we walked from Funsters to PH.

But tell me why is it that, even when you blow over £100 in one day on your kids, they still whine about the one thing you said “no” to - namely a ride on the motorbike game/Postman Pat van in the bowling alley arcade? A little infuriating…!

Tomorrow we’ve decided we will go to Wrexham - provided it doesn’t look to be the only scorcher of the week - to Techniquest. And then on Friday I think we will go to Liverpool instead of Manchester. There just seems to be more to do there - or at least the website is easier to navigate and see what attractions there are, plus, I’ve always wanted to take a look at the city centre and so has Jake (especially good news for him I think, as Liverpool is his ‘team’). It’s looking increasilngly likely that the beach is not going to happen. I’m so thankful for that Sunday School outing to Llandudno - it might be our only chance again this year :( Maybe next year we will have a car and it’ll all be a lot simpler…(we can dream!)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Holiday Opportunities...

This morning was spent mooching around and despite plans for a lie in, I was awake at 5am - the time I sometimes go to bed!! I never normally go to bed the right side of midnight and last night I was asleep by 11.30 - so I awoke with the larks and way before the kids! I did some reading of ‘The Explosive Child’ (thanks Carol :-) ) - which is hardly early morning reading, but has me thoroughly hooked! When the kids did get up they took themselves off downstairs as per usual and left Paul & I undisturbed. I’ve read nearly half the book already! I never get a chance like that usually ( . . At breakfast time I called a family conference and we all sat together to eat - that but NEVER happens here! We made a list between us of all the things we would like to do, see, eat and achieve this week. That was really nice. Then Paul & I sat and organized those ideas into something relatively doable and our schedule for the week looks a bit like this;

Today - Cinema & McD’s with the big four -

Tomorrow - Library, shoes for girls, Barony park (mostly for boys and their skateboards), girly shopping with the girls for necklaces and such like, make opticians appointment for JA, ?feed the ducks, and various ‘other’ bits in town (like buy a pressie for our newest family member).

Wednesday - Funsters (soft play place), Pizza Hut & Bowling!

Thursday - Techniquest (Wrexham)

Friday - Manchester (Man U museum & Manchester Museum) OR Beach (West Kirby)

Saturday - shopping, gardening, general sorting out & a night out for our anniversary for Paul and me.

Sunday - business as usual!!

I got to do stuff with my eldest four today that I can only do when Daddy is at home to be with the babies and it was really lovely. ‘Cars’ was a really fun film - predictable story line, but fun all the same and the Cinema is always fun (albeit way too expensive!). That coupled with the McD’s and the kids were in seventh heaven! It was so good to spend such a relaxed afternoon with them and despite carting raincoats around with us all day we managed to avoid the littered heavy downpours entirely. I just hope tomorrow turns out equally successful. I suspect a day running errands around town is not too exciting for any of us, but it has to be done, so we may as well get it out of the way for the week and try to make the best of it by interspersing it with ‘fun stuff’.

I’m off to bed now, or else I shall have no energy to give the kids my full tomorrow. I’ve had to spend the evening working on our church ‘Welcome Pack’ - which of course I put together months back and no-one acted on, so now it’s out of date (a little) and they want it updated and ready for Sept 10th when our church goes to two services. It’s pants - I didn’t want to really spend any unnecessary time on here this week, but hey - life must go on - even if I AM on holiday!! Sometimes I really do wish we could afford to actually GO away and then people really would have no choice but to wait!

Monday, August 28, 2006

I am nerdier than 7% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Achievements

By 11.30 today I had had a shower and washed my hair, thoroughly cleaned the bathroom - including the floor, hoovered the entire upstairs of the house, put C down for his nap, dressed E (usually an after lunch affair in the hols if she has her way), got the meat out of the freezer for tea tonight, hung out the washing (like why did I bother - it's wetter than ever now!) and put another load on, put the wash-baskets back in their proper places and the overflow in them (!) and tidied up the study in case Jake wants to sleep in their tonight when D takes over his bed. WOW - that was impressive. Even I couldn't believe it was only 11.30 (and I didn't get up until almost 9!). In that time the kids had played well together - even turned off the TV and quietly absorbed themselves in Hama creations (boy, do I love that stuff :) ). P was attempting to follow a pattern almost entirely by herself for the first time - Merry's blue butterfly - and doing a lovely job with only a very little bit of intermittent help from me and Jacob. She did over half before she ran out of steam, which is very good and leaves a project for tommorrow morning :) Following that Jacob set about doing some more drawing. He wants to send something into Smart. For some reason he was really struggling with drawing circles today so he couldn't get the wheels of his cars right. So he jumped ship and started to draw some sea creatures instead. He did struggle a bit with that too today, but eventually produced a very nice shark and a sting ray. He is intending to do a couple more different fish and then create a underwater background - cut out the fish and superimpose them (effectively) with sticky dots onto the backdrop, hopefully creating a 3D sort of effect (it can't be real 3D for Smart apparently). The cut and stick idea was mine, the rest was his. I'll blog a pic when it's done before he posts it - providing he does actually finish it. He's not too hot on completing projects :(

This afternoon was filled with more cleaning and hoovering (trying to get around the house at least once a week atm). I can keep up with it fairly well when I'm not schooling - why is that I wonder? It does prove to me though that I can do the house-wife and mother thing, it's just adding in the 'teacher' bit that throws the balance a little! Good thing is though that if I take a week off every 3/4 this year the house should not get that bad that a quick blitz won't sort it in that week off. I can keep on top of the day-to-day muddle & keep the kitchen clean. It's the deep cleaning everywhere else that's a trouble - or any kind of general cleaning for that matter!!

Other stuff - Jacob has been promoted a lane at swim club tonight. At last, and not without a little nudge from me to the coach. I've been puzzled as to why he hasn't been leveled up before. He's faster than all the other kids in his lane (50m in 50 secs average speed in all strokes) and has a good distance record too, but for some reason the guy didn't seem to want to promote him. I think it's because he is under 10. Anyway - he's up now and that's a good thing because J was beginning to loose motivation (seeing his hard work unrewarded) and wanting to give up. He said he did enjoy it in the end tonight, despite not wanting to go this evening, but this has given him new drive - and I think the extra challenge is a good thing for him. He needs a challenge to rise to or else he will happily coast and acheive very little, whereas I think he has real potential to be a competitive swimmer, so I really don't want to see him give this up too easily.

That'll do tonight. I need an early night - and 12.30 is early for me! It's been nearer 3am most mornings this week!